AusRAIL, Market Sectors

QRC tells Aurizon to rethink Queensland access pricing

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has called on rail provider Aurizon to rethink its coal network access pricing scheme, calling the draft released by the provider ‘unacceptable.’ </span> <p>Aurizon, which operates the majority of Queensland’s coal network, submitted a draft access undertaking (DAU), with the Queensland Competition Authority, in April.<br /><br />The DAU outlines the prices Aurizon wants to charge miners and forwarders for the use of its network.<br /><br />It includes an outline of key factors that would be at play in the negotiations of any agreements made with Aurizon for access to the network, as well as extensive reasoning behind costs and other factors.<br /><br />But the QRC says Aurizon’s pricing scheme is excessive, and has suggested that the provider is making an ambit claim – trying to establish a high starting point – in negotiations to have the plan approved by the competition authority.<br /><br />A proposal by the competition authority to extend the timetable of the drafting process has the support of the coal industry, according to the QRC.<br /><br />The authority said in a letter to Aurizon that “from a preliminary consideration of [stakeholder] submissions, stakeholders have identified a significant number of issues where there are substantive differences from the position of Aurizon Network as outlined in its UT4 proposal.”<br /><br />QRC chief executive, Michael Roche, more than agreed with this statement.<br /><br />“To say the least, the QRC and its coal members regard this assessment as an understatement,” he said, adding “taking more time will count for nought unless Aurizon is prepared to move substantially from its totally unacceptable ambit claim lobbed on industry without prior consultation.<br /><br />“It is now well and truly time for some substantially new thinking by Aurizon about the returns it can expect to extract from monopoly ownership of the central Queensland rail network.”</p>